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Former 49ers Pro Bowler Abe Woodson Dies at 79

Posted Feb 13, 2014

One of San Francisco's best kick returners over the years passed away in Las Vegas.


The 49ers family will come together to honor a fallen member.

Abe Woodson, a star kickoff returner for San Francisco from 1958 to '64, passed away in Las Vegas on Feb. 8. He was 79.

The team announced a graveside service will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 19 at S. Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetary in Las Vegas.

The 49ers drafted Woodson, a Jackson, Miss. native, in the 1957 Draft's second round out of the University of Illinois. He would wear No. 40 in his seven seasons with the team, going to five Pro Bowls over that span.

Woodson, who also played cornerback, still stands as the franchise leader in many kickoff return categories: yards (4,873), average return (29.4 yards), longest return (105 yards) and touchdowns (five).

He was at his best in 1963, when he returned three touchdowns. In '64, he recorded a career-high 1,157 return yards.

His 28.7 kick return average ranks fourth highest in NFL history.

Woodson spent 35 years as a life-insurance agent following his playing days. He also worked as a volunteer chaplain for the Nevada prison system.